Friday, September 25, 2009

Mirrors of Projection

It was in C.G. Jung’s writings that I first encountered the rather useful concept of projection. Jung held that the collective unconscious holds permanent energetic structures he labeled archetypes (“primal patterns”)—an old, old concept with a hoary history… Plato’s ideal, eternal forms were of this category existing somewhere in a transcendental space, the very model and source of all things visible; in scholastic times they were transferred to the mind of God; during the Enlightenment Locke, for instance, brought them back to earth and suggested that archetypes were simply things out in the world that our minds turn into patterns. What goes around, comes around. In the transitional twentieth century, the archetypes go back into our chests, and if we seek to trace them further, we find them in that quasi-divine collective unconscious which was Jung’s reinvention of divinity. They reside there in Platonic silence, energize us, and we project them out into the world. There you have the root of this conception. The archetype of “father” is projected onto leaders, of “mother” on the nanny state, of “evil” onto capitalism, socialism, the red menace, or Muslim terrorism. Jung wisely suggested that people should withdraw their projections in order to mature.

Let’s walk hand-in-hand for a moment with this archetype of the Wise Old Man. Jung thought that the mirrors of our projection take on the energy of the archetype itself, and that, by projection, we thus form god-like entities that rule us in our turn. Not bad when you think about it. The rational way, Locke’s way, is much less exiting. Without the psychic energies that reflect malignly from so many structures of reality, CNN’s coverage of news would become—as it already is for the aware—a crashing bore. If we genuinely saw the reality behind today’s bogey-man, Al Qaida, we wouldn’t get very exited—much as in McCarthy’s day careers and reputations would not have been destroyed had we really looked at communism as it really was. When we don’t see reality, it turns into a mirror. It reflects back what we are.

Okay. But what is your solution, Mr. Darnay? And what does science say about this subject? A solution? I don’t have one. One of our more interesting projections is that the world arrays itself in a series of problem-solution sets, and if we can just get enough people behind us, we can get the problem solved. If this state of affairs troubles you, look for a solution within. Turn off CNN, for instance, or decline to participate in polls. Now as for science… Or should I have capitalized that word?

1 comment:

  1. The 'Big Deal' this week is the publishing
    of Jung's "Red Book." Personally I think
    it's like walking backwards in time; not
    necessary. Jung, working with the physicist
    Pauli, (1932-1958) came up with appropriate
    conclusions about 'acausal reality.' The
    letters were published under title, "atom
    and archetype."
    The main theme is the nature of "number
    archetypes" which Jung concluded is the
    most primal archetype of order in the
    human mind. "it is here that the most
    fruitful field of further investigation
    might be found" said Jung....

    In the new tv show, "flash forward" the
    premise is that every human on earth
    loses 2 minutes and 17 seconds of consciousness,
    or, as stated on the show, 137 seconds.

    The same number that Jung and Pauli discussed,
    and commented on in the above url....

    New York